Adlai Stevenson

The extremists who made Dallas "The City of Hate"

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McGovern's death reminds us of the longing for unapologetic good-government liberalism and its decimation in a fallen political world.

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Before 2013 begins, catch up on the best of 2012. From now until the New Year, we will be re-posting some of The New Republic’s most thought-provoking pieces of the year. Enjoy. The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Passage of PowerBy Robert A. Caro (Knopf, 712 pp., $35) I. MANY LIBERAL Democrats have yet to come to terms with Lyndon Johnson.

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No sooner had Mitt Romney triumphed in the Michigan primary than Rick Santorum edged into his victory by succeeding in winning an equal number of delegates. Romney polled 3 percent higher than Santorum in the popular vote. But that meant nothing in the arcana of counting at the polls that will be translated into 15 delegates each at the Tampa convention in August.

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The Real McCoy

For a political party that seems to derive its ideology from Ayn Rand’s embrace of heedless ambition, the Republicans are going through an unexpected Ferdinand the Bull phase. Many of the GOP’s top presidential prospects prefer smelling the flowers—or taking a New Jersey state helicopter to a son’s baseball game—to becoming Teddy Roosevelt’s man in the arena, scrapping for every vote in the Iowa caucuses. And while Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty long for the roar of the crowd, Republican voters are caught up in the allure of the non-combatant.

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Robust and Wide-Open

Justice Brennan: Liberal Champion By Seth Stern and Stephen Wermiel (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 674 pp., $35)   In September 1956, when the eminently forgettable Justice Sherman Minton announced his retirement from the Supreme Court, President Eisenhower’s motivation in selecting a replacement stemmed less from legal considerations than from political calculations. With the upcoming presidential election just weeks away, he instructed Attorney General Herbert Brownell Jr. to locate a nominee who, in addition to being younger than sixty-two, was both a Catholic and a Democrat.

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Back To The Obama Pix

The seventh of the nine Obama photographs below reminds me (and everyone old enough to remember) of Adlai Stevenson.  There was a famous photograph snapped in his 1952 campaign for the presidency inwhich the underside of one of his shoes was shown, and it had a big round hole in it.Here again is the Obama image with two holes, one on each shoe. No more comparisons between Obama and Stevenson. Stevenson lost the race for the presidency twice, the second time in 1956. As a child, I was very much for him. But I now concede he would have made an awful chief executive.

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The Vital Centrist

Journals: 1952-2000 By Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. Edited by Andrew Schlesinger and Stephen Schlesinger (Penguin Press, 894 pp., $40) I. FEW HISTORIANS write personal journals that deserve publication, which is not surprising. How much interest can there be in the academic controversies and petty jealousies that dominate the lives of working historians, much less in the archives, the private libraries, and the lecture halls where they spend so much of their time?

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Making Change

Via Steve Clemons, guest-blogging over at Andrew's, a Tallulah Bankhead bathroom-stall interaction too mahvelous not to pass along: There was the time she was in Washington for a Democratic Convention honoring her "divine friend, Adlai Stevenson"... And during a long speech by some senator she had to go to the john, but found when she was settled in for the duration that there was no toilet paper at hand. "So I looked down and saw a pair of feet in the next stall. I knocked very politely and said: 'Excuse me, dahling, I don't have any toilet paper.

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Heir Time

At first glance, the Democratic nominee for president in 1960, John Fitzgerald Kennedy—the millionaire Caucasian war hero for whom I worked for eleven golden years—seems notably different from the most interesting candidate for next year's nomination, Senator Barack Obama. But when does a difference make a difference? Different times, issues, and electors make any meaningful comparison unlikely.

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